Critical Considerations on Registering Your Business Trademark Overseas


The trademark is an essential tool in any business operation. This will allow your clients to recognise your goods easily in the general market, and it can complement your marketing effort by providing rand identity. If you have registered your trademark in the country, you can use it freely and legally within the borders. However, if you want to expand your customer to overseas countries, your rights to the trademark will not be recognised. There is no international registry for business trademarks, so you will need to gain specific recognition in the region that you would like to operate in. Here are three critical aspects to evaluate before launching your application for trademark usage overseas.

Madrid System or Apply by Country 

When you want to register for overseas trademark rights, you can choose to use the Madrid system or apply country-by-country. The Madrid system is a special protocol which is designed to facilitate registration in several jurisdictions around the globe. Basically, you will only need to file a single application through the national trademarks office and indicate the areas you wish to trade in. This method is cost-effective and quick for multiple country registration. On the other hand, you can only apply for rights in countries that have accepted the system and any individual country can still reject your application. If you want to trade in one or two countries, direct application to the region is less complicated. Unfortunately, navigating foreign laws can be difficult, so engage a trademark attorney.

First to File or Use

Regardless of the method of registration, you should note that the application will be unsuccessful if another entity has claimed your apparent signature. Therefore, you should ensure that you understand the trademark ownership policies in the region. Moreover, these should be in your favour to avoid rejection and subsequent financial losses. Simply speaking, countries recognise trademark ownership by either usage or registration. In most regions, priority will be given to the first person to file for rights. In other cases, if someone is already using the trademark even without registration, their claim to legal ownership will have stronger rights.


You should understand the financial implications of applying for overseas trademark rights. Each country (except areas with regional trademarking like Africa) has individual cost structures, and this can vary widely with the local rates. Therefore, you should inquire about the potential cumulative amount required for the entire process. High cost applications in some countries might be a limiting factor, but this means that your trademark will most likely available. 


25 April 2016

Helping employees deal with unfair bosses

In my job as a student advisor I hear a lot of complaints about the unfair conditions that some bosses impose on their employees. I'm not a lawyer, but I am very familiar with which conditions are actually illegal and which are just things that some employees don't like being asked to do — like clean the toilets. This blog has some resources to help employees know if what their boss is asking them to do is illegal or just annoying. Knowing even just a little bit about the law can go a long way in making sure you're being treated properly.